Monday, October 10, 2011

Made for This

That's my summary of my first week as  a pastor.

I made at least one huge mistake (unwittingly, but still . . . ) and I'm having a hard time balancing teaching, ministry, and planning the details of the ordination service ~ with cancer thrown in.

I'm grateful that the teaching covers material with which I am familiar, that my congregation is flexible and full of good humor, and that my home church's office administrator is a genius with respect to detail and church knowledge.  Book of Order, food, ushers, CDs, spellings of names, etc., etc.  I'm grateful that the hospital is down the street.  I'm grateful that my family is supportive and helpful, and that the kids have stepped up to help with our aging and pretty sick doggie.

But it's a lot.

And because God is no one if not a God of Irony, I have, despite my present personal circumstances, spent much of my time this past week with other people in theirs ~ in hospitals, assisted living, rehab, and hospice.

All of which may explain why I just did something I don't usually do.  A former colleague wrote to apologize ~ in the most general way; she can't even write the words ~ for having never contacted me after Josh died, and to ask whether she would be welcome at the ordination.

I said that I would be happy to see her.  And then, longing to email yell GROW UP!, I said that it must be difficult to manage life when you cannot even say to a friend that you are sorry that her son died.

Honestly, at our age, can't we put our timidity and discomfort aside for one another?

I'm hoping that to say so is another form of ministry.


  1. I have lost a number of my comments here, so I hope this one sticks. I went through something similar last week - not the same topic, but the same kind of dissonance with a fried of many years' standing. It's as if we speak a language now that has fewer syllables - or something. I simply do not mess around anymore, and I want all of my relationships to be clean and clear. Not everyone has that need for simplicity, though. I suppose the death of a child is an enormous clarifier.

  2. I often have this conversation with Kate. Well, I listen to her have this conversation.

    The people that timidly tell her they "just can't imagine" and "really have nothing to help her feel better" and "well, my life has been so difficult lately" ... and she simply nods and says, yes, I know how that feels.

    Honestly. "Grow Up" seems like the perfect phrase.